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How to Recover Properly from Heavy Training

Winning the Boston Marathon is an incredible feat. When Japanese rider Yuki Kawauchi beat him last week, he completed his fourth marathon in just 12 months. This was a demonstration of his ability to recover quickly from physical and racing training. And although you do not have realistic aspirations of winning a marathon, being able to train heavy, quickly recover and skip to the next training session is a goal that certainly shares with Kawauchi.

Still, recovery methods may still be unknown. Your gym partner can swear that ice baths can reclaim your legs. The local fitness products dealer has a huge selection of tools to help your muscles recover... And massages, Epsom salts, or a good painkiller, what role do they have?

Methods that promise to overcome muscle pain quickly certainly have its appeal and nourish our thirst for quick fixes. But, like almost everything in life, a more sustained and holistic approach is the right way to go, says Brad Stulberg, author ofPeak Performance. "Eating, sleeping and having relaxing days are the most important things you can do he says. "Everything else is trivial if you do not follow those three."

Experienced racing technician and author Jenny Hadfield agrees. "The more you can do naturally within the flow of your training, the better she says. "A systematic approach helps a lot."

Within these parameters, then, see what experts recommend to recover well from a heavy workout and come back on another day:


One of the great keys to ensuring that your muscles get everything they need to function well is what you eat. Nutritionist Jessica Crandall, RDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends betting on whole foods.

Having said that, having had an intense workout, eating some high quality food can help increase your recovery. "If you can eat 15 minutes to an hour after workout, your muscles will be more receptive to replacing protein stores says Crandall. "That's ideal, but if you can not do that window, you still have not missed the recovery boat."

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Stulberg likes to take a simple smoothie after work. "My recipe is almond milk, ice, two bananas, a spoonful of whey protein and a little bit of almond butter he says.

It's important to determine the right amounts of protein for the type of exercise, so you do not add unnecessary calories to your body, Crandall says. "Depending on your weight, duration and intensity of training, you should consume between 15 and 30 grams of protein."

Crandall points out that "if you just did a 30-minute walk, you probably do not need nothing, "she says but if you do an intense 20-minute workout with Crossfit, you need".

Consider sources rich in protein, says Crandall. "Choose something like a handful of nuts or a half cup of cottage cheese she suggests. "That's all you need in most cases."


Stulberg is a big fan of sleep as a recovery tool. "The more you are training, the more sleep you need he says.

Hadfield places great emphasis on the quality of sleep. "It's not just the hours of sleep that matter she explains. "Are you taking the necessary steps to ensure a deep and restorative sleep?"

His suggestions include running away from electronic gadgets by the end of the day. "Get away from your cell phone an hour before you go to bed says Hadfield. "Give yourself time to relax and establish a regular regimen that tells your body that it is time to rest."

Other important components for a high quality sleep include a dark and cool room, and comfortable mattresses and pillows, according to the National Sleep.

Light training days

For some people, it's hard to fight the temptation to train hard every day. But lighter days are essential for muscle recovery. Hadfield says that low-intensity exercises should be part of his routine, and should also be tuned into his body. "If you have a heavy workout on the agenda, but your body is saying the opposite, listen to it she says. "Follow the flow of your body from one day to the next."

In a typical week, Stulberg says, try doing two or three intense workouts, no more. "There must be many light days when the sole purpose of training is to make the blood flow he says.

Active recovery instead of standing in front of the television can also be a useful tool. "If you do a heavy workout and then sit for hours, some active recovery can be a good move says Hadfield. "A light walk or a gentle drive is all you need."


What do you usually do after a heavy workout to recover? How many days of heavy workout per week do you do? Comment below!

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